He was intently straining his ears, when to his surprise the afternoon sun began to flash upon the weapons of armed men, and once more his hopes revived in the belief that the French were being driven back; but to his astonishment and dismay, as they came more and more into sight, a halt seemed to have been called, and they too settled down into a bivouac, and communications by means of mounted men took place between them and the halted party higher up the valley; the young rifleman, by using great care, watching the going to and fro unseen.
Evening was coming on, and Pen Gray was still watching and wondering whether it would be possible to take advantage of the darkness, when it fell, to try and pass down the valley, circumvent the enemy, and overtake their friends, when the wounded boy's eyes unclosed, and he lay gazing wonderingly in his comrade's eyes.
"Better, Punch?" said Pen softly.
"What's the matter?"